Punch a dolphin, feed the cat


071) Sensational Wonder Woman, finished June 22

I found this book on the library website because they didn't have the Colleen Doran book I did want. And while she only penned one of the stories in this anthology, I grabbed it and now I've read it and it was . . . fine. Some are better than others, but it was kind of fun to read a bunch of one-offs instead of some building, "important," superhero story.

one sitting

072) Ain't Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin, finished June 27

About as much text as a picture book but over three hundred pages long. As is mentioned in the note at the end, this lets the art be more than illustration.

It's a tale of a kid at home in 2020 as his parents watch the news—from separate rooms (dad is sick, presumably covid). The five people in his family are in covid-era quarantine and the art and words explore the isolation and loss and confusion or all the horrors 2020 presented us, yet rarely by making them explicit. Which means this book is either futureproof or will age terrrribly.

I'm surprised my library put this in the adult nonfiction because, in my mind, it's YA fiction like most of Reynolds's books. But what do I know?

two days

073) 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) by The Oatmeal, finished June 29

I really recommend reading The Oatmeal at The Oatmeal rather than a book. They were originally formatted for online (and even the posters flow better than the books) and you get to pick the ones that are interesting rather than turning the page and bumping into one of his overly ugly early pieces designed to be churned quickly rather than be great.

gosh i dunno like five years maybe

074) Socks by Beverly Cleary, finished June 29

This book was a handmedown from an older cousin and one I loved as a kid and read many times. It's been in my kids room for ages but maaaybe none of the boys ever read it? So inbetween Tiffanys I read it to the 5yrold. She liked it; I liked it.

As a piece of writing, I found aspects of it pretty impressive. For instance, Socks is the primary point-of-view character yet most of the action involves people—people talking and doing all sorts of people things—and yet there are no pov violations. Socks navigates whats around him with a cat's understanding. This results in a lot of dramatic irony and all without any cheating!

I'm not sure I've read any Beverly Cleary since I was a kid. This kinda made me want to move to Ramona or something next.

And: the Darwin illustrations are great. I love their just-ink vibrancy.

under two weeks

075) The Ultimates Volume 1: Super-Human by Millar/Hitch/Currie, finished June 30

This dates back to 2002 but I checked the copyright page multiple times because I thought Nick Fury didn't turn into Samuel L. Jackson until after 2008 and the release of a cinematic Iron Man. Not so.

Although you can't help but to wonder if Marvel didn't see this book as a pitch. In one scene where the characters are imagining themselves in a movie, Fury casts Jackson as himself. And although the argument for Tony Stark to be played by Johnny Depp is pushed pretty hard, Robert Downey Jr. does get a shoutout elsewhere in the story.

So the whole thing's a bit surreal—another MCU from another corner of the multiverse, where Hank Pym is an abusive husband, Captain America is rude, Hulk is horny and Freddy Prinze Jr. is a major movie star.

Not quite how things turned out.

one day

076) In China with Green Day by Aaron Cometbus, finished July 4 

I really do like Cometbus's voice. I bought a few more of his works and I tried to pick ones that seemed similar to the first I read and here I succeeded. He's an excellent essayist if you think Montaigne nailed it the first time out. Personable, first-person, a tad narcissistic but utterly engaged by and with the world around him.

Cometbus was friends with the guys in Green Day well before they were famous and they invited him to join him for several stops in Asia on a world tour. He went because he wanted to visit China (bad luck: the China shows were cancelled and Hong Kong, at least in 2011, still felt different).

Cometbus totally cops to his own biases and failures of sight, but the Green Day guys come off great, over all, and the opening act, in brief appearances, like total dicks. He tends to spend part of their time in each sitting wandering off, walking, getting lost, seeing things no one else will ever see. And since the Green Day machine is taking care of him, he doesn't have to worry about what comes next. He just needs to get in the bus on time.

Anyway, it's a great view of a corner of reality most of us will never view. And we have a gregarious (and grumpy) host to guide us.

54 | 55


Previous Posts

001) U Is for Undertow by Sue Grafton, finished January 4
002) Far Sector by N.K. Jemisin et al, finished January 7
003) Joseph Smith and the Mormons by Noah Van Sciver, finished January 7
004) The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, finished January 11
005) The Art of Perspective by Christopher Castellani, finished January 11
006) Bad Kitty Goes on Vacation by Nick Bruel, finished January 12
007) Remina by Junji Ito, finished January 15
008) The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill, finished January 15
009) The Tea Dragon Festival here by Katie O'Neill, finished January 15
010) A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett, finished January 18
011) Diana: Princess of the Amazons by Shannon & Dean Hale and Victoria Ying, finished January 26

012) Just Julie's Fine by Theric Jepson, finished January 28
013) The Art of Description by Mark Doty, finished January 28
014) Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh LĂȘ and Andie Tong, finished February 5
015) Serious Concerns by Wendy Cope, finished January 9
016) The Art of Mystery by Maud Casey, finished February 11
017) The Art of Bible Translation by Robert Alter, finished February 13
018) No Longer Human by Junji Ito, finished February 15

019) Zatanna and the House of Secrets by Matthew Cody and Yoshi Yoshitani, finished Febraury 17
020) Fuzz by Mary Roach, finished February 19
021) Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection by Junji Ito, finished February 25
022) You May Already Be a Winner by Ann Dee Ellis, finished March 4
023) Audience-ology by Kevin Goetz, finished March 4
024) The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, finished March 7

025) Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett, finished March 8
026) The Croquet Player by H. G. Wells, finished March 11
027) Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It by Michael J. Trinklein, finished March 12
028) Nightwing: Leaping into the Light by Bruno Redondo and Tom Taylor, finished March 13
029) Batman: The Court of Owls by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion, finished date
030) Invisible Ink: My Mother's Secret Love Affair with a Famous Cartoonist by author, finished date
031) Ghosts of Vader's Castle by a slew of folks, finished March 15
032) The Flintstones Volume 1 by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh, finished March 16
033) The Flintstones Volume 2 by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh, finished March 16
034) The Jetsons by Palmiotti/Brito/Sinclair, finished March 16
035) Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan, finished March 18
036) Ballad for Sophie by Filipe Melo and Juan Cavia, finished March 19

You tell me whether it's garbage-in or not

037) Bride of the Far Side by Gary Larson, finished March 23
038) Batman: Night of the Owls by the entire DC bullpen, finished March 23
039) The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, finished March 25
040) The Pocket Book of Ogden Nash, finished March 25
041) Slaugherhouse-Five or the Children's Crusade: a Duty Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut / Ryan North / Albert Monteys, finished March 28
042) The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith, finished March 28
043) Jem by Frederik Pohl, finished March 31
044) The Mundane Adventures of Dishman by John MacLeod, finished March 31
045) Because Sometimes You Just Gotta Draw a Cover with Your Left Hand by Stephan Pastis, finished April 4

Books: extralong edition

046) Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Vol. 1: Hooked On A Feline by Leth/Williams/Allegri, finished April 9
047) The Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner, finished April 11
048) Weird Al: The Book by Nathan Rabin with Al Yankovic, finished April 11
049) My Year of Flops by Nathan Rabin, finished April 16
050) The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennet, finished April 19
051) Beast of Burden: Occupied Territory by Dorkin & Dyer & Dewey & Piekos, finished April 16
052) Building a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies: Dogbert's Big Book of Business by Scott Adams, finished April 22
053) On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder, finished April 27
054) Salt Magic by Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock, finished May 5
055) Star Wars Adventures: The Weapon of a Jedi, finished May 6
056) Hemingway in Paradise and Other Mormon Poems by Scott Hales, finished May 8
057) Romeo and Juliet: The War by a team assembled by Stan Lee, finished May 10
058) The Dark Horse Book of the Dead edited by Scott Allie, finished May 14
059) A Little Lower than the Angels by Virginia Sorensen, finished May 15

060) Irredeemable by Mark Waid, et al., finished May 20
061) Stanslaw Lev's The Seventh Voyage by Jon J Muth, finished May 23
062) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by Simon Armitage, finished May 28
063) Heike's Void by Stephen L. Peck, finished May 30

064) Night Weather by JS Absher, finished June 2
065) Will Eisner Reader, finished June 2
066) Pen Pals by Aaron Cometbus, finished June 4
067) I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett, finished June 6
069) Pluto: Urusawa × Tezuka 001 by Naoki Urasawa et al, finished June 16
070) The Gadget War by Betsy Duffey, finished June 16

final posts in this series from
  2007 = 2008 = 2009 = 2010 = 2011 = 2012 = 2013
2014 = 2015 = 2016 = 2017 = 2018 = 2019 = 2020 = 2021

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